What is "Sales" Today?
I’m not sure if it’s intent or something I’ve put out in the universe, but it seems that some of the professional development sessions I’ve been in are on the topic of sales. This was the topic of our January Vistage meeting and came up a lot during the February Vistage Executive Summit. Whatever the reason, the timing is essential for me. As I look to the future of non-dues revenue in my organization, sales are the one area I am turning to help us grow this area.
Now I’ve never thought of myself as someone who is good at sales. I can have the conversations, talk about the products, and work towards an offer. It was that end part that I had a challenge in completing. Because of this, I never thought I was good at sales. One of the things that I’ve learned in these sessions has been that I am good at sales. I just needed to frame my perspective a little better. Here are some of the key points:
1. Start thinking of it more as influencing rather than selling. Within influencing there is a cycle that works:
a. Open by building trust
b. Investigate to identify motivating factors
c. Present a solution
d. Confirm to gaining agreement
e. Establish a position for a long term agreement
2. To complete a sale, I need to understand how to create change for the buyer. If I want to change the outcome of the sale, I need to change the beginning. Understanding that if a prospect is comfortable when they come into the sale, they will not change to buy something different. Harvard Business Review stated that 67% of sales are completed by the time a sales person is contacted.
3. Today more people are interested in buying your “because” rather than just the “outcome.” It’s important to include that “because” into the influencing style and helping them to connect the change for them.
This all has given me a lot to think about. Those who are more successful in sales may think to themselves “I already knew that.” That’s okay as this is a skill I’m going to be developing. I’ve discovered that I have a strong influencing style and have been successful in sales. What has helped me is to partner with others that can compliment me by balancing out where I’m lacking. My focus going forward is how can I continue to leverage my strengths while growing in my other areas. Time will tell, or the sales will.